DOH-Mimaropa air ambulance flies more patients from far-off island municipalities in Palawan

Just after seven days after its formal launching in Puerto Princesa City, the Department of Health – Mimaropa (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) air ambulance again airlifted two emergency patients from the island municipalities of Cuyo and Balabac in Palawan on March 19 and 20, 2017 respectively.

One of the patients was a 41-year-old female suffering from G6PD preeclampsia and already in labor from Manamoc Island, one of the farthest islands of the Cuyo Archipelago. At 5PM, she was flown to the Cuyo District Hospital where she arrived at 6PM. Immediate treatment was provided to stabilize the patient and at 12MN, normally delivered her baby.

The next day, the air ambulance proceeded to Balabac Island to retrieve another a 69-year-old male patient suffering from a bleeding peptic ulcer and was brought immediately to the MMG-PPC Cooperative Hospital in Puerto Princesa City.

“We will be expecting more patients to be airlifted in the coming days because we have provided a way for our indigent and indigenous communities to avail of their right to primary health care. No patient should die just because he/she doesn’t have access to a health facility. With this air ambulance program, we are hoping to save more lives,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated.

Patients who may avail of the free emergency medical service are those who are seriously injured, and requiring immediate treatment, severe trauma cases and those who suffered from mild to severe stroke. “Patients that need to be airlifted will be assessed by their attending physician who will then coordinate it to the Provincial DOH Office in Puerto Princesa City for the immediate evacuation of the patient to a tertiary hospital,” he added.

The air ambulance service may also be used to transport blood products for patients needing immediate rapid blood transfusion.

The PDOHO Emergency Unit is open 24/7, manned by Dr. Peter Hew G. Curameng, to cater to patients in need of air transport. Among the emergency numbers that can be contacted are SMART (0998) 5492585 and GLOBE (0917) 533-1651.

Due to the limited landing sites in most islands of Palawan, PAMAS has been using the R44 Helicopter for a quicker response and would only be needing a small landing area. It uses an average of 40 liters of gasoline per hour compared to the Cessna 206 Plane which consumes around 56 liters per hour.

“The air ambulance program was inspired by President Duterte’s zeal of providing primary care to our indigents who have less access to health care. Those who have less in life deserve to have more benefit from the government for them to improve their lives,” Janairo concluded.

Photo by Leila Dagot | Taken during the official launching of air ambulance, a project of DOH Mimaropa
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